Runner

Runner

4.4 51
by Carl Deuker
     
 

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Living with his alcoholic father on a broken-down sailboat on Puget Sound has been hard on 17-year-old Chance Taylor, but when his love of running leads to a high-paying job, he quickly learns that the money is not worth the risk.See more details below

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Overview

Living with his alcoholic father on a broken-down sailboat on Puget Sound has been hard on 17-year-old Chance Taylor, but when his love of running leads to a high-paying job, he quickly learns that the money is not worth the risk.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2005: Chance lives on a sailboat in Seattle's harbor, but it isn't exactly a "floating mansion." It's as beaten-up and beaten down as his alcoholic father, who can't seem to hold a job. Chance's mother left long ago, and he worries each month about whether his father will manage to pay the bills. So when a man from the marina approaches Chance and offers him money to pick up and deliver mysterious packages on his daily run, Chance doesn't ask many questions, though he's pretty sure drugs are involved. At school, he's a "ghost-walker," just waiting to graduate and enlist in the army to get away, but a new friend named Melissa gets through to him. Her curiosity about his runs, however, nearly gets her in danger, and when Chance discovers that it's not just drugs he's helping to smuggle matters come to a head, with tragic consequences. Deuker, the author of Night Hoops and other YA novels, crafts a suspenseful and involving story that tackles timely issues of terrorism, patriotism, poverty, and privilege. Chance's dilemmas will quickly draw readers in and keep them turning the pages.
KLIATT
Chance lives on a sailboat in Seattle's harbor, but it isn't exactly a "floating mansion." It's as beaten-up and beaten-down as his alcoholic father, who can't seem to hold a job. Chance's mother left long ago, and he worries each month about whether his father will manage to pay the bills. So when a man from the marina approaches Chance and offers him money to pick up and deliver mysterious packages on his daily run, Chance doesn't ask many questions, though he's pretty sure drugs are involved. At school, he's a "ghost-walker," just waiting to graduate and enlist in the army to get away, but a new friend named Melissa gets through to him. Her curiosity about his runs, however, nearly gets her in danger, and when Chance discovers that it's not just drugs he's helping to smuggle matters come to a head, with tragic consequences. Deuker, the author of Night Hoops and other YA novels, crafts a suspenseful and involving story that tackles timely issues of terrorism, patriotism, poverty, and privilege. Chance's dilemmas will quickly draw in readers and keep them turning the pages. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
High-school student Chance Taylor lives with his father on a small boat in Puget Sound. His mom walked out years ago, and his dad cannot hold down a job and drinks excessively. To pay the bills, Chance picks up mysterious packages along the sound while he is out running and delivers them to unknown people. He does not know if he is smuggling drugs, jewels, or plastic explosives. At school, Chance is a below-average student with few friends and has no strong prospects of entering college. One girl, Melissa, befriends him, and in the end, saves his life as the packages turn out to be part of a plot to blow up the Sound. Chance's story is suspensefully told and easily engages the reader as the author creates a realistic and sympathetic character. Chance is forced to grow up at an early age and make tough decisions—decisions that cost the life of his father and the loss of a chance to be part of a family. Overall, the story presents a realistic view of a low-income teenager who falls out of the mainstream culture, and the overall plot reflects the tension of terrorism found in the post-9/11 world. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 15 to 18.
—Patricia Silverberg
VOYA
Readers will be hooked to this fast-paced book from the first sentence and quickly become eager to learn more about Chance's dangerous new job. Teens will relate to references about war, terrorism, and life in a post-September 11 world. Deuker uses the different characters to illustrate the many opinions and feelings that people have about war and patriotism. Although the plot is somewhat predictable, Deuker adds subtle twists and turns that keep the book interesting. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Houghton Mifflin, 224p., $16. Ages 11 to 15.
—Kristen Moreland, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-When his alcoholic Gulf War veteran father is fired from the first steady job he has held in years, Chance Taylor is understandably glum. He has no idea where they'll get the money to pay the moorage fees for the run-down sailboat they call home. Since his parents' divorce, Chance has tried to keep a low profile in school, and his only pleasure is running by himself along the Seattle waterfront. When a marina office employee offers to pay him $250 a week to pick up occasional packages at a tree along his running route, Chance is deeply suspicious of what they may contain but desperate enough to accept this opportunity to pay the bills. As this new job gradually becomes more dangerous and more clearly illegal, Chance's father is able to rise above his personal problems to help extricate his son. In a gripping climax complete with SWAT teams swarming throughout the marina as Coast Guard patrol boats close in on terrorists, Chance is afforded a final glimpse of the heroic man his father once was. Writing in a fast-paced, action-packed, but at the same time reflective style, Deuker uses fewer sports scenes than in his previous novels, and instead uses running as a hook to entice readers into a perceptive coming-of-age novel. A subplot involving Chance's friendship with a wealthy female classmate whose father was a close high school friend of Chance's father is nicely integrated into this timely, compelling story.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Chance Taylor lives on a sailboat at the marina. The boat's not seaworthy and represents the life Chance and his father share-rocking back and forth and going nowhere. Chance sits in the back of every classroom, making himself invisible. Mr. Taylor drinks, has trouble holding down a job and struggles to pay the bills. So, Chance agrees to be a runner, picking up mysterious parcels on his daily running route and passing them on to the fat man from the marina, knowing that it's probably wrong and likely dangerous, but it pays very well. Sinister goings-on, a murder, last-minute heroism and a new life rich with possibility make this a satisfying read. Deuker's brisk narrative, long on action if short on embellishment, will carry along even the most reluctant of readers in this post-9/11 tale of terrorism on the Puget Sound. (Fiction. 11+)
From the Publisher

"The sports and suspenseful action will easily draw readers, as will the gripping adventure’s deeper issues of crime, class, ineffectual parents, and a teen’s questions about his uncertain future." Booklist, ALA

"Writing in a fast-paced, action-packed, but at the same time reflective style, Deuker uses fewer sports scenes than in his previous novels, and instead uses running as a hook to entice readers into a perceptive coming-of-age novel." School Library Journal

"Fast-paced and suspenseful." Horn Book

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780756982003
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
11/01/2007
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
1,333,958
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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